Learning To Read

December 9, 2021

Reflections, Day 59

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
― Lewis Carroll

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll

I can still picture the cover of the book.

It was a line drawing of a girl with long, windblown hair

In some strange surroundings.

I remember being excited about entering the first grade, because I had been told that’s where I would learn to read. I could already look at the pictures and tell what Dick and Jane were doing, but learning to read had been frustrating for me.

But my teacher used a “word recognition” method and I just couldn’t quite understand. I mean, what if I memorized all of the words on the flash cards and then saw a strange word? It just wasn’t working.  We know now that “word recognition” is a flawed method.

But I was fortunate. My mother’s younger brother was working on an education degree and learning new methods of teaching. He told my mother that I would never be a good reader unless she taught me “phonics.” Mom, of course, was dedicated to my education and I can remember her sitting with me for hours, helping me to sound out the words on the page. I was a lucky boy.

And it worked. By the time I was in the third grade, I read everything that I could get my hands on. I read the cereal box at breakfast, I read the road signs, the signs on stores, and lots of books. When I was 8, I got a Schwinn bicycle for Christmas. Looking back, I don’t know how my parents found the money to buy it. I learned to ride, and then I was allowed to ride up Steele Street to the small library in our small town.

Somewhere in there, I was given two books—Alice in Wonderland, and Through The Looking Glass. I honestly tried to read them but I remember thinking, “This is crazy stuff.”

But, as we grow older, our points of view change. When I was an adult, I thought perhaps I would try Alice again. I loved it. I still enjoy the crazy, whimsical words of Lewis Carrol.

—john schulz

Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site johnschulzauthor.com publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, johntheplantman.com which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at http://johnschulzauthor.com/

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